The original Nook only had a small touch-strip on the bottom to view covers and access various device settings,while the eInk part was strictly for reading. This time, Barnes & Noble has changed things around with the new Nook WiFi – touch edition.
Gone is the bottom strip, now replaced with an entirely touch-based eInk screen. The device also sheds a lot of the bulk that came in the last version, now coming in at 6.5 by five inches, which happens to be smaller than the Kindle 3 (thanks to the lack of a hardware keyboard).
The display uses infrared technology to make it touch-enabled and since this is different than the touch tech found in most smartphones, you can wear gloves or use a stylus to interact with it. The interface has also been completlely revamped to be more like the Nook Color and the new page refresh function means you won’t get flashed with a blank screen before a new page is displayed. It’s a lot smoother.
Onboard the Nook are 2GB of space – upgradable to 32GB via an SD card slot, social functions like book lending and recommendations, and an onscreen keyboard for searching for books or looking up words in the built-in dictionary.
Barnes & Noble seems to have really stepped up its game in response to the Kindle 3, providing a lightweight and powerful alternative to what is, in most minds, the defacto standard eBook reader. As the technology gets better (and cheaper), pretty soon everyone on the morning train ride will be burying their nose in an eBook.